Saturday, November 22, 2014

Philosophy and Fantasy for Tween Readers

Shieldwolf Dawning by Selena Nemorin was written as a fantasy novel for tweens.  Nemorin also created the story as a philosophical text.  As children follow the journey of Samarra and her brother Cassian, they encounter questions basic to all humans:
  •        How do I know what or whom to believe?
  •        How do I make wise choices?
  •        Can I know what is right or wrong?

Samarra learns she and her brother came from another planet and, when offered a one-way trip to that planet, accepts the offer for herself and her brother.  Some things on the new planet are better, some are worse.  Samarra is happier, but her brother is not.  When they get caught in a battle between two kinds of magic and two ways of believing, choices must be made.

This is a well written story whether or not one uses it to teach philosophy.  This is recommended for teachers or parents to read and discuss with tweens and young teens.  Nemorin wrote Shieldwolf Dawning as part of her work on her Master of Arts thesis and it was obviously written with attention to detail.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Review: Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering

Happily engaged Drew Farthering is looking forward to a nice, normal wedding and married life with his Madeline.  Unfortunately, life has other plans.

Can Drew’s relationship with Madeline survive while he helps an old girlfriend? A beautiful former actress accused of murdering a member of her theatre troupe?

This title is recommended for lovers of mystery, the theatre, and a little romance. 

I received a free review copy of Murder at the Mikado from Bethany House publishers.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Abraham by Chuck Swindoll

Pastor Chuck Swindoll offers his insights as he explores the Biblical account of the life of Abraham.  From God’s first words to Abram to Abraham’s death after a long, eventful life, there are lessons for all of us who want to know how to really follow God.

This biography of Abram/Abraham, like the Bible, shows us the good and the bad.  This man of God was, after all, a man.  In each chapter, Swindoll showcases one event and how that event developed character or revealed character flaws.  By the end, anyone can see that Abraham’s life was a journey of faith--a journey with detours, disappointments, and delights.

I recommend this book to Sunday School teachers and church libraries.  It is also useful as a supplement for individual Bible study of Genesis.

I received a free copy of Abraham from the publisher for my honest review.

From Dreamer to Planner

 The Newest Secret by Deborah S. Nelson is not just another motivational book.  The subtitle,  Part 1: Introduction to Dream Planning indicates a big difference.  Nelson teaches the power of truthful thinking rather than merely positive thinking.  Truth is fundamental to achieving any dream and Nelson offers tools to help the reader identify and speak the truth in his/her life.  Each chapter includes a “power study” with links to helpful resources, making this book an inspirational title and a reference book.

The culmination of the process of dream planning is to actually write and publish your dream.  Your pen bridges the gap between imagination and creation.  Creation is an important theme in the book, as Nelson embraces a creative worldview (one of abundance) rather than a competitive worldview (one of scarcity.)

Important features I found especially notable included her discussion of overcoming entropy and gaining momentum (engineers like physics metaphors) and her coverage of what to do when the dream arrives.  Gratitude is an important attitude to have!   Nelson also offers useful tips for dealing with “dream deniers” who can’t or won’t see your dream.

The Newest Secret would make a fine gift for a graduating senior or a helpful study for a person experiencing “midlife crisis.” 

Note: I received a free review copy from the author for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Unit Study Resources for Elementary Grades

Randa Handler has written several books for children that can launch excellent class discussions.  The books also make great material for family reading time.

The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter is set in 1941, the year Franklin Delano Roosevelt made Thanksgiving Day a national holiday in the United States.  Takari is part of a Japanese-American family and is excited to celebrate with her family--until she breaks an heirloom platter that belonged to her grandmother.  Takari’s mother is upset, so Takari seeks consolation from her friend, Little Sparrow, a Native American.

As Little Sparrow’s family prepares cornbread in the tradition of the Wampanoag, Takari learns about the pilgrims and begins to understand how much she has to be thankful for.  She tags along when Little Sparrow and his father go to spend time at a veterans’ hospital and learns that Thanksgiving Day is about more than food and heirloom platters.  She returns home wiser and more thankful than ever.

Use this book in a unit study on Thanksgiving, veterans, or multicultural customs.
Handler has also written Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot and What’s Up with Mike? which feature multiracial boys, a fantasy world, and tiny creatures.  The lesson is that being different is not a bad thing.  If I Were King features a zebra that learns important lessons about friendship, boundaries, and safety while playing with a variety of animals.  The Boy Who Spoke to God is a lesson on tolerance among different religions.
Find Randa Handler’s books on her Amazon Author Page and check them out.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Book Giveaway: Their Name is Today

Johann Christoph Arnold offers the why and the how of "reclaiming childhood in a hostile world."  The modern world needs some common sense reminders about the age-appropriate pursuits of childhood, as our institutions become increasingly hostile toward normal child development.  

I believe Maria Montessori and a host of sensible great-great-grandparents would say to us what Arnold does in this much-needed book.  Play is the proper work of a child.  Screen time is no substitute for hands-on activities.  There is no substitute for active adult involvement in the lives of children.

Comment on this post below and get a chance to win a free copy of Their Name is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World.  Winner will be chosen November 8.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Thorough SAP ERP Exam Preparation

This is as thorough an exam preparation book as I have seen for any examination.  The authors have taken a highly specialized exam and created a resource to help qualified test takers do their best and earn their Financial Accounting (FI) Certification.

A large part of success in taking an exam is to be familiar and comfortable with the test structure and format.  The authors tackle this immediately, offering an overview of key exam features: time limit, computer-based format, official pass rate, etc.  Particularly important is the knowledge that some questions have more than one answer and missing one of the options results in an incorrect answer.

A Quick Quiz section follows the introduction, giving the reader the general “flavor” of the examination.  This allows the reader to quickly get a sense for whether or not he/she is ready to prepare for the examination or needs more practical experience before tackling the remaining sample test questions.

The rest of the book groups sample questions by topic, e.g. fundamentals, automatic payments, logistics integration, and workflow.  Sample questions include both single answer and multiple answer format, so the reader gets practice in both types of questions.  Answers immediately follow each question, so there is no leafing back and forth to check answers.  Each correct answer is followed by a helpful explanation. Charts are included where a visual aid is helpful.

If you know how to use SAP ERP 6.0, this guide will help you prove it.  Enter the certification exam with confidence if you have worked through this book.

I received a free review copy of this guide for my honest review.